Stacie Swift is an illustrator, coffee drinker, and mum. Focusing on positivity, self-care, and mental well-being, Stacie’s illustrations are a colorful combination of hand-drawn images and type. You can learn more about her work here.
The months we’ve spent living through the pandemic have given us more challenges than we ever expected to handle. We’ve had to adapt, bounce back, and struggle through in unexpected and overwhelming ways. Our daily lives have become smaller; we’ve socialized less, worked and learned from home, and waved goodbye to our daily commutes and normal routines. However, that’s not to say our worries or anxieties have followed suit.
If this unique time has given us anything, it’s resilience. We’re navigating uncharted territory and doing the best we can. Our self-care plans and routines have had to change to fit our new ways of living—but there are plenty of critical small wins we can celebrate. Here are five self-care wins to add to your toolkit in the COVID-19 era.
Define your boundaries
Our homes have become our offices, our places of learning, our children’s playgrounds, and our activity centers. We juggle working, teaching our kids, and Zooming our way through virtual meet-ups from the place that was once reserved for downtime and rest. The lines can so quickly become blurred. Set physical boundaries where you can, and instill emotional ones too. Whether it’s not working after 6 p.m. or not answering every social text, you get to set the rules that restore some balance and order in the chaos.
Note your feelings
In a turbulent time, it’s essential to give yourself space to process your feelings and stresses. A blank page is a judgment-free zone; put pen to paper and note the thoughts and emotions you are carrying. Freewrite in a journal over breakfast, take a moment during the day to write three reflections in your phone notes, or brain-dump your thoughts into a document before bed. No matter when you choose to do it, it’s cathartic to unburden yourself by writing things down.
When you can, find a way to spend some time outdoors. Even the shortest spell outside can break up a routine, recalibrate your mood, and help bring a bit of sunshine to the day—literally and figuratively! Whether it’s lunch in your backyard or an amble around your local neighborhood, a safe stroll can have significant benefits to your mental and physical well-being.
The temptation to seek out more news—particularly bad or negative news—and to lose ourselves in finding the latest information on social media can have huge repercussions on our mental health. Be mindful of who you follow, find trustworthy and reliable news sources, and limit the amount of time you spend online. Allow yourself more room to focus on the present and the positive.
Show your space some TLC
We’ve already touched upon how our homes have become multi-functional; with this comes more mess and clutter. For many of us, it might mean that household chores fall further down the to-do list. The laundry pile might be bigger than ever and the dishes may pile high as we juggle more and adjust to new daily schedules. Prioritizing one small task can make a big difference, though. Commit some time to tidy your space and put things in their right places. Having order around us can help us regain some control and routine in an otherwise unsettled time. It’s also the perfect chance to bring small joys to your rooms, smile-bringers to help at a difficult time. Treat yourself to a new houseplant, put up photos of the people you’re not able to see in real life, or add some affirmation art prints to your wall to keep you feeling motivated. Giving our homes a little extra TLC can have a positive impact on our mindset as well as our surroundings.
Lastly, be gentle with yourself. None of us has navigated a global pandemic before. Your self-care practices may need tweaking or redefining, and that’s okay. Survive this storm the best way you can, and keep celebrating your successes—however big or small.